polar bear paintings
Months ago, when the Artworld Fine Art Gallery and I planned the opening date of my "Dark Water" solo art exhibit (March 24, 2018, on until April 3rd) we had no idea it was the same date as the 2018 Earth Hour. the world's largest grass roots movement for the environment, co-ordinated in part by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF).
Dark Water is an show about the wonder of polar bears, and the threat posed to them through climate change. Polar bears are the world's largest land predators, the only bear that are a marine mammal, are highly intelligent, playful, strong swimmers, devoted mothers, and are beautiful, too....Read More
Halton Hills Bears
The weather has been great here in the Greater Toronto Area, and for that I am grateful.
It meant that I could journey to the Williams Mill Gallery in Halton Hills, for the opening night of The Joy of Art, snow, and anxiety, free. Opening nights are always anxiety filled for us introverted artists, even if a happy event in which I have 6 large paintings and a selection of little polar bears on panel on show.
The Joy of Art exhibit continues until Christmas. And not only would I love if you could see my polar bear paintings in person (and perhaps make one your own), but I'd also love you to experience the beautiful venue in which I once had my studio, and resided on the Board. The historic Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre, that houses the gallery and a multiple of working artist studios, is centre to the unique picturesque hamlet of Glen Williams.
Williams Mill is located at 515 Main St., Glen Williams. Only 20 minutes north of Mississauga. 40 minutes north of Toronto. The gallery is open Wed. - Sun., 12 - 5 pm. The 25 + artists studios are open Fridays to Sunday 12 - 5 pm.
As well as myself, other guest artists include Tina Newlove (painting), Naomi Assenheim (jewelry), Bonnie Glass (couturier), are a few of the names that come to mind.
Upcoming: Polar Bears to Artworld Fine Art Gallery
On Saturday, December 9th , 1 pm - 4 pm - I will have sneak preview of two of my new polar bear paintings for my upcoming solo show of polar bear art (March 2018) at the TWAC exhibit and meet the artists, which is just part of the creative holiday fun at the Artworld Fine Art Gallery Holiday Open House. If you would like to participate in the "Paint with Briar Edmond" event please be sure to RSVP with the gallery. NHL legend Red Kelly will be signing his book "The Red Kelly Story". A portion of proceeds will go towards St. Joseph's Health centre in Toronto.
I hope to see you there!
Artworld Fine Art Gallery is located at 365 Evans Ave. Toronto, ON M8Z 1K2
Follow the Yellow (make that ochre) Dirt Roads
I visited the Canadian Arctic for the first time in May, 2014. After a day in Iqaluit (Nunavut's capital) I flew to Cape Dorset (pop. approx 1300) at the southern tip of Baffin Island.
Although the landscape surrounding Cape Dorset is stunning, it was the ochre ribbon-like roads looping through the hamlet, and the constant activity on them, that intrigued me most. Most people walk or drive ATVs (skidoos in winter) to socialize, shop and work. There are few larger vehicles, but the school bus seems always on the go, as are the trucks that deliver fresh water and empty the septic tanks. Thus my first steps out on the town (well, hamlet) were a delightful contrast to my city experience, where the roads are hectic and the sidewalks empty.
Next to my hotel (Dorset Suites), and across from Tellik Inlet, is the world-renowned Kinngait Arts Studio, the oldest printing studio in Canada. The distinctive red-roofed, green and yellow buildings (seen below), have been around since 1957. This summer (2017) work has begun on the new cultural centre and studios. To see larger images please click on the photos below.
Below:Tellik Inlet by Kinngait Arts. Turn right to go to the two grocery and supply stores, and the RCMP station. Turn left to find the Wildlife Office, the municipal pier, and the gazebo on the hill.
The gazebo, seen from most vantage points of the hamlet, is an unusual landmark for such a northern community, but, hey, I loved it. A sheltered bit of architecture, where I could start each day and take in the glorious landscape. In the picture below, you can spot the gazebo above the Wildlife Office (the building on the left ). Click on the picture below to see a larger image
The polar bear hide seen above was huge. I mean hair-raising, goose bump inspiring big. I wish I had thought to put my hand or iPhone by a paw for reference.
Meanwhile, on the same day I happily arrived in Cape Dorset, a polar bear attacked two Arctic Bay hunters as they slept in their tent. They survived, but only after a fight for their lives. For a dramatic account of the attack, and some equally dramatic polar bear facts, read http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674nunavut_polar_bear_attack_survivors_thankful_to_be_alive/
I love polar bears, and my polar bear paintings are portraiture tributes to these great mammals whose future is of concern. But up north? One can never forget these beautiful, intelligent, powerful kings of the arctic are dangerous.
Big Bear Passing (48" by 36" polar bear oil painting by Christine Montague )
So, up the hill to the gazebo.
Below. Snowmobilers travel on frozen Tellik Inlet to get to open water beyond.
I was forewarned to expect roads thick with mud, but they were dry and solid. Later in summer, when the roads become too dry, passing ATVs and the odd car send up clouds of pervasive dust. But for now, as it was the first week of sunny, cheery weather, children, especially boys, were out on their bikes, pedalling uphill with admirable ease.
To be continued...
Note: I use a Sony A7r with 35mm Zeiss lens. iPhone 5s was my back up.
Meet The Blue Prince, a 30" x 40" polar bear oil painting. Why have I titled this painting, The Blue Prince? ...this mighty polar bear painting is created in dramatic shades of blue,.. is a portrait of arctic royalty, and polar bears, highly intelligent, and the largest and mightiest arctic predator, are often referred to as the Lords of the North.Read More
A Celebration of Polar Bears Painting
Inerkartok, is a 6" x 12" portrait oil painting on canvas of a polar bear sitting in the snow. "Inerkartok" means pretty in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit in Nunavut, an arctic territory in Canada. The polar bear in this oil painting is a pretty one, and I would like to believe she is sitting pretty, too. Sitting pretty is an old idiom that means in a good place or a in a good situation. However, this recent Polar Bears International video on the retreating sea ice and the 40% decline in the polar bear population is far from pretty.
Inerkartok is just one of the paintings in my series A Celebration of Polar Bears.
More more polar bear info -
As fascinating as it would be to actually have a polar bear in my artist studio to paint "live" from, I realize the "live" part probably wouldn't apply to one of us for long.
So to simulate this experience I brought up one of my photos of the wonderful Inukshuk (the adult male bear at the Toronto Zoo) on my laptop. I positioned my laptop at a distance and height a human model would sit in front of the easel. Imagining the model before me was 3D, I blocked in the shapes, values and colours I observed on the blank canvas. There was nothing drawn up before hand.
In this style of painting, the background is more than a backdrop of colour to hide the white canvas. The paint helps carve out and define the outer edge of the head, helping it to stand out from the canvas. Only at the end of the portrait painting are the fine details, and pure blacks and whites added.
Of course, for me, whether the portrait subject is human or otherwise, the big reward is always when I get to finish the eyes. Thanks to the magic of oils, the polar bear eyes in these portrait paintings, as well as in my imagination, are very much alive.
Polar Bear Paintings Aurora & Borealis
Here are two more polar bear oil paintings in the Celebration of Polar Bear Series -.Aurora and Borealis. They are named, or course, for the aurora borealis, the northern lights that dance so brilliantly in the arctic sky. The size, beauty, and intelligence of the polar bear, makes this bear as magically magnetic as the northern lights.
Polar Bear Painting Aurora
Polar Bear Painting Borealis
Borealis is a latin word that originates from the Greek personification of the north wind boreas.
Canada's arctic is home to over 60% of the world's polar bears but they also live in the arctic areas of Alaska (U.S.A.), Greenland, Norway and Russia (that's it, folks).
The word Boreas reminded me of Boris. They are not pronounced the same , but close enough, and so I often think of this painting as Boris, a popular Russian name that is fun to say, and is a nod to all the Russian polar bears, too.
A group of polar bears is known as a celebration of polar bears. That is exactly what my polar bear portraits oil paintings are, happy, heartfelt celebratory tributes to these magnificent arctic animals.
Please visit Christine Montague Portrait Oil Paintings & Polar Bear Art for more information about these and other paintings.
Although polar bears are solitary animals, when there is a group of them, it is known as a celebration of polar bears. Can you think of a better word to describe a gathering of these magnificent arctic animals?!
Each painting is a tribute to these intelligent, mighty arctic mammals. These portraits give a nod to their beauty, fuzziness, playfulness (goofy even?), but one should never forget their awesome teeth and powerful claws are ever present. Can you see their distinct personalities, too?
Please feel free to contact me through Guestbook atwww.christinemontague.com or visit there for more polar bear art.
To learn more about polar bears, please visit Polar Bears International
"Premonition: Ophelia and the Polar Bear", is a 36" x 48" oil painting on canvas, and another work in the Polar Bear Dreams Series. Like the other polar bear paintings in this series, this art work is a blue, white and black dream-like tribute to the mighty bear. This painting, however, has a mystery to it, a hint of tragedy, and possibly, foreboding.
The light of the aurora borealis (northern lights) reveals a young woman trapped in the ice to a passing polar bear. Who is she, and what is her connection to the polar bear and the north?
In 2011, Canada’s Environment Minister declared the polar bear as a species of special concern under the Species at Risk Act.
The woman in this painting is after "Ophelia" by Sir Henry Millais (Tate Gallery, London, England). See the famous Pre-Raphaelite painting that depicts the death of Ophelia and innocence lost in Shakespeare's tragedy "Hamlet" here.
Flowers representing the Canadian provinces and territories replace those found in the garland in the Millais painting.
No danger though, the seven polar bears in question are the 8" x 8" polar bear portrait oil paintings I completed earlier this year. This is their first excursion out of my Williams Mill studio, and you can see them at the Dragonfly Arts on Broadway Gallery in Orangeville, Ontario. Joan Hope, the very personable gallery owner, and a great lover of original art, and supporter of Canadian art & Canadian artists, saw them online and asked that I bring them in. Done!
These Ursus maritimus portrait oil paintings, inspired by Inukshuk, the Toronto Zoo's male polar bear, are studies for future larger artworks. Thus I have priced them similarly to my little portrait painting series (here) . They are 8" x 8" gallery mount canvases, framed in black floater frames, and are easily shipped.
If you would like to see these polar bear portraits in person or would like more information. Here is Dragonfly Arts contact information: 189 Broadway, Orangeville, ON L9W 1K2 (519) 941-5249 · dragonflyarts.ca
Here's the google map http://goo.gl/maps/fwP4
Well, I realize not quite like the remarkable story of the British Columbia man who can swim with the polar bears, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7rZTZBOrqQ&noredirect=1 but I hope you enjoy perusing these works online, or at Dragonfly Arts.
P.S. Orangeville has a delightful main street, Broadway, with Dragonfly Arts, home design shops, Orangeville Theatre, an art supply store and a myriad of restaurants for every taste. Plenty of free parking, too. I can't tell you how great it is to find parking almost in front of the gallery so I can unload my work with ease!
And for a great story about encounters with a polar besr listen to cbc radios The Wild Side with Grant Lawrence. It's great. http://www.cbc.ca/thewildside/
For some great reading about polar bears in Canadian north, and the effect of changes in snow on reproduction, read this related article
- Changing climate threatens to disrupt the denning habits of polar bears (vancouversun.com)